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What is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping tools used in the BodyPlus Health clinic

Cupping is an alternative therapy that involves the use of suction cups being placed on the skin to lift soft-tissue up. It is thought to create a decompressive effect to create space between the soft tissue layers of your skin, fascia and muscles.

Cupping is believed to have originated in China and is a strong part of Chinese Medicine. However, the first mentions of cupping therapy can be dated back to Ancient Egypt around 1,550BC!

What are the benefits of Cupping Therapy?

Traditionally, Cupping Therapy is offered and predominantly used in Chinese Medicine. It is believed to help improve the flow of 'Qi,' within the body. Qi is the Chinese word for 'life force' and cupping can help to balance the yin and yang (negative and positive) forces within the body. In Chinese Medicine, balancing these 2 forces can help to reduce a persons risk of injury or sickness by improving the bodies resistance to pathogens.

However in Western Society, Cupping is believed to increase blood circulation to where the cups are placed. It is believed that this can relieve 'tight' muscles, improve blood flow through the area and ultimately assist with cell repair. Generally cupping is used along side other forms of treatment such as manual therapy and exercise to facilitate healing.

Currently 2 forms of cupping are used 'Dry and Wet. Dry cupping just involves placing the suction cups onto the skin and leaving them for a short period. Wet cupping involves 'pricking' the skin and then using the suction cups to draw blood out. Dry cupping is the only form used here at BodyPlus Health.

Generally, Cupping should not be painful and you should only feel a bit of tightness on the area the cup is placed. As you may have seen on athletes, cupping does leave a round redness or bruising on your skin that is only temporary. It is not permanent or painful

What is the evidence for Cupping Therapy?

Due to the lack of quality of studies, there is currently no hard evidence to support the effects of cupping listed above, it can be a useful therapy option or alternative to other methods if you have tried other therapies. It may also not be suitable for all individuals and you should consult your physiotherapist or doctor if you have any bleeding disorders of any kind.

If cupping is something you have found useful in the past or is something you would like to try, enquire with one of our physios as to whether it is a suitable treatment option for you.

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